Feb. 16, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas --- It's been six years since the Notre Dame men's tennis team last advanced to the ITA National Indoor Championships, essentially the "Sweet Sixteen" of the tournament that includes the most elite programs in college tennis. This year, the Irish went into the event with a 7-1 record and as the 16th seed, putting them at the very bottom of that elite list.
But this Notre Dame team was not satisfied with merely being invited to the show--this team came to perform.
After falling to No. 1 Virginia in the first round but getting the first points off the Cavaliers of the season, the Irish put down No. 9 Mississippi State during the first day of consolation play, 4-1.
Less than 24 hours later, Notre Dame once again went up against a higher-ranked opponent--No. 12 Florida State--and defeated them without dropping a match, 4-0.
"I am so proud of the way our players approached this match despite the quick turnaround," said head coach Ryan Sachire. "We always stress the process bout what it takes to win, and it boils down to preparation, confidence and competing. Our group did that today, and they were able to beat a great program that we have so much respect for."
After losing the doubles point yesterday despite their usual strength in that area, the Irish came back with a vengeance against Florida. Senior Ryan Bandy and sophomore Eric Schnurrenberger were first off the court at No. 3 doubles, defeating Diego Hidalgo and Florent Diep, 6-2. The 17th-ranked team of sophomore Alex Lawson and senior Greg Andrews sealed the point for Notre Dame with a 6-4 victory over 24th-ranked Stephane Piro and Michael Alford. Freshman Josh Hagar and senior Billy Pecor's match was abandoned, but they were up 5-4 on their Florida opponent at No. 2.
The Irish then made quick work of the Gators in singles. Andrews, sophomore Quentin Monaghan
and Bandy each defeated their opponents in straight sets at No. 1, 2 and 3 singles respectively.
Notre Dame now leaves Houston with two more victories over higher-ranked teams under its belt, proving that early wins over then 8th- and 13th-ranked Kentucky were more than the luck of the Irish.
Next, the team returns home for a doubleheader next Saturday against No. 5 Ohio State (12 p.m.) and Ball State (7 p.m.). The latter will be broadcast on ESPN's College MatchDay from the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
--Lauren Chval, Media Relations Assistant